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24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE

Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Andy Serkis, Keith Allen, Dan Hope

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Produced by: Andrew Eaton
Distributor: MGM/UA ,

US: 09/08/02 UK: 05/04/02

Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) invents dance music - according to him!! And it all happened at the Hacienda Club, Manchester with bands like Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays.



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Party on extra dudes

The story of the Manchester music scene over the past 25 years is told in a cheeky style with Tony Wilson (Coogan) walking us through the story with equal parts comedy, drama and music.

TV journalist/music impresario Wilson was the driving force behind the Manchester music scene of the '70s and '80s, which gave the world the likes of Joy Division (later New Order) and the Happy Mondays. The film follows Wilson and his Factory Records gang through these tumultuous years of musical discovery, partying at the Hacienda, sex, drugs, debauchery, etc.

Coogan's sheer personality and humour keep us involved in the film, which suffers from the usual Winterbottom/Boyce problems--the narrative and characters are jumbled and hard to follow without prior knowledge about the time, place and people. Even so, it's fascinating to watch these characters spiral out of control, all the while maintaining a sort of naive artistic integrity. The period is wonderfully recreated, and Coogan continually lifts us out of the "action" with post-modern asides that are both hilarious and telling. He also knows how to find a tiny detail--twitch, pause, arched eyebrow--to say much more than any amount of dialog would.

And the surrounding cast are also excellent, with some rather eerie look-alikes in higher profile roles. This is a rare mock-doc that actually tries a discinctly new approach ... and it works, even if the drama never really grabs hold. And while the whole thing seems a bit too self-important and self-aware, it's still energetic, funny, surprisingly informative and rather insightful in its examination of an important place and time

 


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